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What motivates me to keep going
Well, my sugar free resolution lasted all of seven days. I’ve been craving treats after dinner every day and last night I had some macarons that we still had in the fridge. My husband also offered me a low calorie fudge bar but I didn’t fancy that, I just wanted a few macarons. I had five in total and no sugar binge ensued thereafter. My craving was satisfied.
Then my husband and I had a long conversation about our desire to lose weight. He also has a good amount to let go of and between us we have lost and regained a few hundred lbs since we got married almost 17 years ago. If that doesn’t give you pause, then what does?
I am in a similar place I was in last year when I questioned “Why does it still matter?” When you’ve spent almost two decades trying to lose weight and another two before that not being quite as obese but still thinking that you ought to be on a diet all the time, well, then clearly something is amiss here. I know I am not alone in this, either.
Let’s unpack this a bit:
Since 2005 I’ve had five serious attempts at weight loss. My highest weight during that time was 277 lbs (in 2020), my lowest 202 lbs (in 2015). I never quite made it to onderland. Today I weighed in at 254 lbs. At 5’8” I can carry it but it’s still a lot.
Calorie counting is the only thing that ever helped me lose a good amount of weight. My limits were never crazy and it worked as long as I regarded calorie counting as my tool and not my master.
I never put my life on hold because of the weight. Since 2005 I got married, moved 15 times, lived in MA, WA, Germany, the UK, managed a hotel, became the registrar of an international school, built a house, built a 6-figure business, bought a plane. That’s a whole lot of living!
The weight is impacting my health. I developed sleep apnea, my joints don’t like it much and before Christmas my doctor put me on blood pressures meds, something he’s been wanting to do for a while. I am also not able to have a much needed ankle operation because I am too heavy to qualify. Letting go of at least 50 lbs would help with all of this.
Despite my dodgy ankle and weight I established a new walking habit. This is probably one of the biggest game changers that came out of my weight loss attempts. In the summer of 2020, when it became clear that this pandemic is serious and not going to go away anytime soon, we decided to at least get fitter. After suffering with my damaged ankle for eight years I finally found some trainers with heels (I need heels to walk properly) and I am not exaggerating when I say they changed my life! Even with the weight gain I can still go for walks and that’s making a big difference.
One thing I learned from calorie counting is that I enjoy cooking a lot more if I prepare everything in advance (as I had to do to weigh and count ingredients.) As a reluctant cook I am very grateful for that lesson!
My programs were always healthy, reasonable and enjoyable. But maybe because I keep calling them programs, or maybe because they centered around weight loss, they still felt like diets, as much as I didn’t want them to. The problem with this is that it triggers my last-supper mentality and that is what eventually trips me up again, without fail.
I always said that my health is the main reason why I want to lose weight. However, I am realizing that this is fear-based motivation and while that is very effective for kickstarting a program it’s not that effective for long-term motivation, at least not for me. This was actually an important realization because in the past I always said: health is the only good reason to want to lose weight, any other reason is deeply buried in diet culture.
What if that is not true?
Health is a very good reason but what if there is something else that is driving my unwavering desire to let go of the excess weight? What if the key is buried in there somewhere?
When I talk to people about previous weight loss successes I often mention an incident from 2015 when I was in Germany for my mom’s funeral. When she passed away I had been on my intuitive dieting program (a combination of calorie counting and intuitive eating) for six months and had lost almost 60 lbs. That was when I was at my lowest weight of 202 lbs. Her death was unexpected and represented one of the things I feared the most: when things are going well something terrible is going to happen (what is up must come down). It’s a totally irrational belief, I know that my mom didn’t die because I was in a good place physically and mentally. Here is the thing: I only coped as well as I did with her passing because I was in a good place prior to it happening. Feeling fitter physically definitely helped but it was my mental state-of-mind that was the deciding factor and the ‘incident’ relates to that:
I was driving around my hometown, running errands for my mom’s funeral, when I was waiting at a traffic light and looked down at my legs which had become a lot slimmer than I had seen them in years. And suddenly, out of nowhere, this voice popped into my head and said:
“Hello Kerstin, there you are.”
It’s a little hard to explain this moment. It was like I had been unraveling all these layers and I was finally emerging… as myself. In that moment I felt a deep sense of recognition and connection. Like I was seeing an old dear friend again, after a long absence. It was a moment of feeling present, grounded and alive, and fully myself. It’s what you see in the photos above, where I was in the 200-215 lbs range which seems to be the entry point for the emergence.
THAT is what I want. That is what motivates me to keep going and why I won’t give up.
Could I get to feeling this way without losing the weight? I don’t think so. Not because this moment was about the weight, but because it was about everything I had done to lose the weight: the attention, the awareness, the resilience, the exceptional self-care.
So there we are: it’s all about HELLO, KERSTIN! And of course the health, too, I am just going to try and approach that from a more love- than fear-based perspective. It feels calmer that way and if you ever follow my business journey you know that I am all about calm these days!
What does this mean for my weight loss strategies and all of that? I have some thoughts and I’ll be sharing them soon!
Have a great week,
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